Mike Jacobs (Nick Nevern) is an unemployed Brit who has never been able to get much going in his life. He’s smart but he’s also a university drop-out and he refuses to accept any job that he feels wouldn’t provide a proper mental challenge. Mike is also a football hooligan, spending most of his time getting into fights with the supporters of rival teams and occasionally with the police. As Mike explains it, there’s no better thrill than getting angry, destroying stuff, and knowing that your mates are going to back you up.
At the latest soccer riot, Mike runs into an old friend of his named Eddie Mills (Simon Phillips). Eddie offers Mike a job opportunity. At first, Eddie just has Mike deliver a few packages, all to determine whether or not Mike can be trusted with something big. Once Mike has proven himself, Eddie reveals that his business is credit card fraud. He and his gang steal people’s credit card numbers and then, every night, withdraw as much money as they can on the card. The scheme works because the gang only uses a card once and then tosses the number away. By the time the fraud has been discovered, the gang is using a totally different card. Eddie explains that it’s a victimless crime because the banks are insured and the card holders don’t have to pay the bill once the fraud has been uncovered.
Despite his initial misgivings, Mike goes to work with Eddie. At first, everything is great. Mike is making a lot of money, doing a lot of drugs, and having a lot sex. However, because this is a crime film, eventually Mike discovers that there’s no such thing as a victimless crime and the world of credit card fraud is much more dangerous than he realized.
It’s a tradition that movies about football hooligans rarely involve much football and that’s the case with The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan. By my count, there are three short scenes that take place at a match and none of them are particularly important. Instead, for Mike and Eddie, the point of football is the fight after the match. The rush that they get from defying the police and smashing car windows is the same rush that they get from stealing money from the banks and the credit card companies. The main difference between the two activities is that one just leads to black eyes and broken bones while the other makes them rich.
I liked The Rise and the Fall of White Collar Hooligan. Though the story’s predictable, it’s stylishly directed and Nick Nevern and Simon Phillips are both good in the main roles. What I especially liked is that the credit card scheme actually made sense and it was easy to understand how someone like Mike could convince himself that what he was doing really wasn’t that big of a deal. There’s nothing surprising about the movie but it’s undeniably entertaining.
In the U.S., it was released as Blue Collar Hooligan. I’m not sure why the title was changed. Mike is blue collar but, throughout the film, he brags about how his crimes are all white collar and he even calls himself as “white collar hooligan.” Maybe someone thought Americans would be more likely to watch the movie is they thought it was about a blue collar criminal instead of a white collar one. They’re probably right.